Contagious pig virus appears to be contained in Alberta
It has been eight weeks since the last discovery of porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) in Alberta, giving officials reason to hope that the deadly pig disease has been contained.
Amanda Stephenson, Calgary Herald
May 14, 2019
It has been eight weeks since the last discovery of porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) in Alberta, giving officials reason to hope the deadly pig disease has been contained.
In a conference call with pork producers Tuesday, Dr. Julia Keenliside, veterinary epidemiologist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, said the province has been conducting regular testing at high-traffic pig sites such as abattoirs and truck washes ever since the first case of PED was discovered on a central Alberta farm in January. So far, all samples have turned up negative.
“The fact that we’re not seeing any positives tells us we don’t likely have any farms out there that are infected with the disease. This is all very good news for Alberta,” Keenliside said.
A total of four farms — the original premises in Central Alberta and three more in southern Alberta — have had pigs that contracted PED this year in what marked the disease’s first entry into the province. The virus represents no threat to human health but has a mortality rate as high as 100 per cent for piglets, making it financially and emotionally devastating for the farmers at the centre of an outbreak. The virus can also spread quickly — an outbreak in the United States that started in 2013 swept across that country and killed millions of pigs before it was controlled.
Keenliside said it is not yet clear how the virus made its way to Alberta, though she said there have been PED outbreaks in a number of other Canadian provinces this winter. Officials are investigating a number of possibilities, including whether the virus could have entered the province in contaminated feed or farm equipment purchased in a PED-positive jurisdiction...
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